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Travel Blog : Bombay / Mumbai Revisited


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#1 percyn

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:06 PM

** Warning ** - This blog may contain content depicting humongous amounts of mouthwatering, delicious food being consumed, mainly by one food obsessed, insane person. Please consult with your physician before attempting any of this yourself, which by the way is encouraged.

Day 1

It is after a long time, almost 10yrs that I would be visiting family and friends in my childhood city of Mumbai (or Bombay as I may still call it). The main purpose of the visit is to attend the Navjote (a Zoroastrian / Parsi ceremony, similar to a bah mitzvah) of my 2 nephews. After a little persuasions, my wife who has never been to India also decided to join me on this trip.

India and particularly its largest city, Mumbai, with around 20 million residents is a place of incredible contrasts and juxtapositions, not just in wealth but also in its philosophy, architecture, culture, religion, etc. My intention is to share the food & culture experiences while on this trip and welcome any recommendations you have and encourage you to ask questions. Due to a hectic schedule and limited Internet connectivity, I may not be able to respond immediately, but will do my best.

So, buckle your seatbelts, here we go…… For completeness sake, I will start with documenting the trip including the journey over, albeit with sparse details, but please feel free to ask any questions you might have. We arrived in time for our flight, but unfortunately the plane did not. After an hour of waiting in the lounge and another hour at the gate, we were finally on our way. We were flying Lufthansa, which I was glad to note had upgraded their business class seats since I last flew them, enabling them to become almost flat, include a lower back massage and noise cancelling headphones with the entertainment system. Lufthansa has a good concept of partnering with star chef’s like Sasoor Lee (who has restaurants in Toronto and NYC) and Hemant Oberoi, Executive Chef of the Taj Group, to create a menu offered in Business and First. Unfortunately, the execution lacked quite a bit and some of the items were barely edible, which was sad. The wine selection however was quite nice and we were introduced to a Reinisch Johanneshof Zweigelt from just outside Tattendorf, Austria, the same town as our flight attendant, who was also happy to write down the names of some other local vintners we would enjoy.

Our trip included a 4 hr layover in Frankfurt, which was a blessing in disguise, as it gave us some time to take a shower and get something to eat (though the selection at the airport, including the lounges, is still somewhat limited for such a cosmopolitan city). There is a small ily stall in one of the terminals which we went to, but somehow the $9 cup of double espresso did not taste as good.

#2 percyn

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Posted 23 December 2008 - 11:57 PM

Day 2
Almost 23 hours after leaving our doorstep we arrived in Bombay to 95F (35C) days, one of the hottest winters in recent history. It was about 80F at 2:30am when we landed and walked into a sea of people as we exited the airport. My wife commented that it was like being on the Today show (a famous show in the US), where an audience had gathered to watch the live broadcast, expect this audience was 10 times larger….at 2:30am!! Luckily we were picked up by my brother, sister-in-law and chauffer. For the first 2 days we would be staying with my Brother and family and then move to a hotel (which are hard to find at this time of the year, so book early if you plan to visit Mumbai in peak season).
We rested for a bit but were still getting accustomed to the traffic sounds at 4am. Unfortunately since my last visit, the population in the city has grown, which means that the traffic and congestion as also risen, while the living conditions of the average person has gone down due to sky rocketing real estate prices.
As in most of India, our morning started with a cup of freshly brewed Indian tea, with mint and “foodina” (a dried long green leaf with has mild flavors of mint and lemongrass). Tea is the popular beverage of choice enjoyed throughout the day, not just in the morning and late afternoon. Shortly thereafter we had Sev (sweet vermicelli noodles) and Dahi (yoghurt), which is served at auspicious occasions in the Parsi community. Over the next few days you will notice the important role that food plays in the Parsi culture as certain dishes will re-emerge to mark certain occassions.
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We also enjoyed omelets made with ground cilantro, chilies, onion, cumin, garlic and ginger, pan fried in some pure ghee (clarified butter), which were served with freshly made roti (or rotli as it is called in Gujurati).
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For lunch we enjoyed Dhan Dar Patio (a Parsi dish of white basmati rice, yellow pulses, and a sweet-sour-spicy sauce or Patio which is combined with the dal and typically contains fish or shrimp, like the one we had).
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The Patio
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Due to time limitations, I won’t go into too much detail here on the Parsi community other than to say that we are followers of Zoroastrianism, a religion founded in around 1500BC in Persia, the world super power at that time, led by emperors such as Cyrus the great and Xerxes. My ancestors migrated to India in around 700AD to avoid religious persecution, where they went on to form a small but powerful community given the name of Parsis (people from Parsa, or Persia). In the Victorian era when India was under British rule, the Parsi community was undergoing a renaissance of sorts and had many prominent business tycoons, lawyers, politicians, artists, etc. You can google for more information, which will help set the context for some of the material to follow in the coming days. If you have questions, feel free to ask.

The evening started with some drinks, including, I am happy to report, a wine made in India. Though a decent attempt, I am sad to report that California and Bordeaux have nothing to fear…yet. I have tasted some good port from Goa (not surprising given the Portuguese and British influences) and have heard of some decent sparkling wine thanks to some vintners from Champagne, France taking interest in specific areas in India.

For dinner we decided to ease into things with a trip to Copper Chimney restaurant in Worli, which is well known for its Tandoor based dishes, especially the Murgh Makhanwala (Butter Chicken), which my wife likes. We started with a few mixed kebab platters including Shish kebab, Tandoori chicken, Rashmi kebab, Tangdi kebab (baby lamb legs marinated in garlic, ginger, cumin and yoghurt) which were cooked to perfection.
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The Tangdi Kebab
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We enjoyed these with a variety of tandoor breads, including plain and garlic naan and roomali roti (roomal = handkerchief, so the dough is kneaded and stretched until paper thin and translucent and then placed over an upside down dome shaped tava (a vessel shaped like a wok) to create a huge rote, which is then folded into several layers before serving). After several tandoor platters, we still decided to get the Chelo Kebab, which is a Persian dish made with rice the consistency of risotto, combined with cream and eggs (or egg whites), topped over a kebab (in this case the traditional lamb kebab). I am glad we decided to get this as it was the star dish of the night, offering a contrasts of flavors and textures, all while demonstrating that not all kebab/tandoor based dishes need to be overly aggressively flavored. I will certainly try to replicate this dish at home and encourage you to do so as well.

The roomali roti
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The Chelo Kebab
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In all the excitement of ordering myriad dishes and enthusiastic eating that followed, we realized that we had neglected to order the dish that brought us here, so we decided to get some Murgh Makhani to go.

#3 percyn

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:09 AM

Day 3
Our day started again with some Indian tea (and coffee), followed by fresh coconut water and Akuri (scrambled eggs with onion, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, ginger, cumin, chilies and tumeric) w/roti.
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I decided to join my sister in law for a trip to the market while my wife got a message. A trip to the Indian market is not for the faint of heart or those sensitive to certain smells or those with high regard for western standards of cleanliness. Each butcher or fish monger had their specialty.
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This person only made minced lamb – first chopped by hand and then put through a hand wound meat grinder,
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And this person sold lungs, kidneys, etc
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We also bought some large prawns, and a few small mudbug like fish called “Levta” which are marinated in spices, pan fried and consumed whole, similar to anchovies.

Waiting for a snack
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We prepped the shrimp along with some chicken for the grill and ordered some lamb biryani for a small family gathering. It was great to see old relatives again and man the grill for them.

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#4 percyn

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:16 AM

Day 4
Another quick breakfast of - you guessed it - Indian tea and eggs (eggs are big with Parsis, which you might have noticed).

We did some shopping on this day as we were getting ready for the Navjote ceremony to be held the following day. For those who have not experienced Indian traffic, especially Bombay traffic, the best way I can think to describe it is like 10,000 cars, buses, trucks, SUVs, bikes, scooters, rickshaws, bullock carts, bicycles, pedestrians and dogs all playing a game of chicken by rushing on to each other at full speed, horns blaring, only to see who can occupy the next inch of available road or so called pavement in this game of automobile based tetras. Luckily, our apt driver dominated and was able to get us to our hotel through a maze of back alleys only taking 1.5 hrs to cover 10 miles.

Crosswalk? What crosswalk?
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To comment a bit on the contrasts, there tall buildings with extremely lavish homes kept up with a multitude of domestic help and a few feet away are people living in “Jopar Patti” (huts) in extreme poverty, amongst piles of garbage and stray dogs and cats. Moreover, many people living in rural locations and villages do so in even more poverty. This is perhaps the most overwhelming part for first time visitors, along with the traffic.


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Huts nestled amongst buildings
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Dog seeks sanctuary
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#5 percyn

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:28 AM

Day 5
It’s the day of the Navjote, so I left my hotel a little early to make my way to the other city of the city from where the hotel was located. Luckily traffic was not that bad (by Bombay standards) early in the morning.
Out of respect for other’s privacy, I can only share a few pictures from the Navjote, especially since it was forbidden to take any pictures in a “agiary” (fire temple) until recently and is still frowned upon by some. The reason behind this IMHO is more to do with a historical promise made to the king of the region in India the Parsi’s landed in around 700AD.

Traditional Parsi Outfit called Dagli
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After the ceremony, we proceeded to the Ripon Club for lunch, an Institution founded around the turn of the century, which has preserved its British-India charm and is famous for Parsi cuisine. Wednesdays is a popular day since they serve a favorite Parsi dish called Dhansak. I highly recommend visiting the Ripon Club if you know a member who can get you in or PM me if you will be in Bombay and really want to experience this.

Flora Fountain, near the Ripon Club
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Located in good company
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One of the first elevators in the city
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Interior of the Ripon Club
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Antique Telephone booth
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Lunch starts with a serving of Sev and Dahi (here we go again with the specific dishes for special occasions), followed by roti, “goor keri achar” (a sweet spicy pickle made of gaghery, mangoes, dates, carrots, red chilies, etc), “Sali Boti” (a sweet, slightly tart and spicy dish with goat that melts in your mouth, topped with the Sali or potato sticks/crisps which add a crunchy texture), Dhan Dar Patio (explained above).

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Continuing with the juxtaposition theme, there are majestic examples of Victorian and Edwardian era architecture mingled amidst buildings that seemed to be haphazardly constructed with little attention to planning or design detail.

Elphinstone College
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VT Station
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This was a long day since after a brief afternoon siesta, we got ready and departed for a private party hosted by my brother in a club which could easily have doubled for any in South Beach (Miami), London or Paris, complete with its DJ, dance floor, fully stocked bar, catered hors d’oeuvres and delicious buffet spread of Indo-Chinese dishes. The partying went into the early hours of the morning and a good time was had by all.

#6 KatieLoeb

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:43 AM

Percy:

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! It puts a lot of your cooking into context for me. You look very dapper in your Dagli, by the way. Thanks for letting us all in to such a personal trip and family get together. I feel like I know you just a little better now.

Everything looks so delicious. I can almost smell it through the screen... :smile:

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Cheers!
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#7 Abra

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 05:44 AM

Yum, my kind of food! Is it at all scary to be in Mumbai right now?

#8 prasantrin

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 07:05 AM

. . .delicious buffet spread of Indo-Chinese dishes.

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Another wonderful travelog by Percyn!

I must ask about the Indo-Chinese dishes. Is there a large Chinese population in India? Or is it just that Chinese food is the most popular "ethnic" food in India (pretty much everywhere in the world, you can find a Chinese restaurant--good or bad).

#9 docsconz

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 12:25 PM

Wonderful, Percy. I wish I got to experience more of Mumbai when I was there. Essentially all I did was sleep one night in the Taj Mahal and have breakfast there before we left to travel south. India is truly fascinating. I loved your market shots.
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#10 Peter Green

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Posted 24 December 2008 - 01:30 PM

Excellent!

I almost want to go back.

Almost

#11 percyn

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 09:56 AM

Day 6

Given the hectic previous day, we decided to spend most of the day in and around the hotel, catching up on some much needed R&R. The morning started of with a stroll on the beach and visit to a local Barista shop (an Italian franchise started by 3 young now budding restaurateurs) for some espresso and cappuccinos. I am happy to report that Bombay now has several non-starbucks cafés that have sprout up severing a very respectable cup of coffee, on par with that those served in Europe, including Italy, but at a fraction of the cost. Most lattes and espressos cost between $1-$2.

The afternoon was spent with a dip in the pool and enjoying the ocean view, complete with coconut trees and small fishing boats in the distance. We enjoyed a club sandwich, pina colada and a Limca (the original bottled lime/lemon flavored carbonated soda).

Sunset from our room
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For dinner we decided to take a Rikshaw to Taava, a restaurant famous for its kebabs and got a rashmi chicken kebab, which was so tender, it just fell apart and almost melted in your mouth. I highly recommend this dish if you are not sure you can handle the heat from the spices or if your tummy needs a spice break.

Rashmi Kebab
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Tandoori Chicken
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Koliwada Prawns
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#12 percyn

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:13 AM

First, sorry for the delay in posting, trying to find time and internet connectivity at the same time has been a challenge.

Yum, my kind of food!  Is it at all scary to be in Mumbai right now?

View Post

No, it is actually quite safe and the feeling I get is similar to a few weeks post 9/11. There has been visible increase in security but overall life went back to "normal" the next day. Today marks the 1 month anniversary of the attacks on Mumbai and there are tributes etc on the TV and news papers. There is a sense of renewed solidarity and posters on many streets depicting increased unity. The people are seeking action from the Government, which has taken several steps to increase overall security. Of course there is a lot more detail in the newspapers here than what I have seen in the US, but that is to be expected.

Anyway, to illustrate an example of unity, Leopold Cafe, which was one of the attack sites opened for business soon after and has a line outside to get in. Many travelers, both domestic and international, kept their reservation at the Taj and like me would not want to stay anywhere else, just to prove a point.

#13 percyn

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:16 AM

. . .delicious buffet spread of Indo-Chinese dishes.

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Another wonderful travelog by Percyn!

I must ask about the Indo-Chinese dishes. Is there a large Chinese population in India? Or is it just that Chinese food is the most popular "ethnic" food in India (pretty much everywhere in the world, you can find a Chinese restaurant--good or bad).

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Thanks Prasantrin, I will post more about the Indo-Chinese dishes in an upcoming post. Though the Chinese population is not that high, at least in Mumbai, China is a neighbor of India and has been, as you mention the original "ethnic" food available in India. However, I do think the Indian chefs have adapted the dishes to create a cuisine that could almost stand by itself.

#14 percyn

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Posted 26 December 2008 - 10:25 AM

Day 7
Started the day with a stroll on the beach and grabbed some coffee from the Barista as none of the local snack places open until 9am. My wife seems addicted to their cashew muffins, which we plan to replicate at home. I had a hankering for a fresh coconut, but could not seem to locate the street vendor selling them.

We later went to my brothers house to run some errands, do some laundry etc and catch up on some shopping. Of course since we were going to be in the Opera House area, I wanted to stop and have lunch at the Kobe Sizzler, a place I used to frequent during my childhood years. For the uninitiated, a sizzler consists of a smorgasbord of meat, potatoes (steak fries or mashed), vegetables, cheese, onions, etc all served on a sizzling hot cast iron skillet (similar to the ones used to serve fajitas).

Mixed Grill - Chicken livers, sausage, chicken, steak fries, etc topped with an egg. Looks messy, but delicious
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The satellite - Steak, mushrooms, cheese, steak fries and veggies.
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Here is what we saw while shopping...note the phone number on the bike. Hmmmm. :hmmm:
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After a bit more shopping, we headed to see an old friend on the other side of town for drinks and dinner at “The Club”, in Juhu. We ordered a variety of dishes including some kebabs, thai and indo-chinese dishes. By the time we sat for dinner it was around 10pm and I was too tired to take pictures.

#15 percyn

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 02:20 AM

Day 8
Eureka!! I finally found the coconut vendor by the hotel!! So I had 2 coconuts, a baby one with less coconut white “flesh” but more water and another more mature coconut with well developed flesh. This was followed by a stop at the local Barista shop for a latte and cashew muffins for my wife and another stop at a local Indian place since I was craving some Indian eggs (those who know me from the Breakfast Thread will not be surprised). I had them make me an Indian omelet and was a little disappointed that they did not have the traditional Indian bread, which used to be baked twice daily by local bakers who make 2 home deliveries, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

Coconut vendor
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Sea Side Cafe View
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Indian Omelet sandwich and masala tea
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While hygiene may not be up to par of Western standards, what strikes me is the amazing freshness that Bombayites seem to demand. Almost every order for prawns, fish or meat starts with a question about when the poor thing was caught or sacrificed its life for deliciousness. In fact at my brothers house, they never put any meat in the freezer, it is got fresh a few hours before it is cooked from the market, which in turn slaughters the animals that very morning.

Later in the afternoon my nephews and sister-in-law visited us at the hotel and we decided to try this famous kebab place called Kasim’s (?). Unfortunately they were still cutting the chicken for tonight, so we could not try some of the dishes they were famous for, but did get to try the king prawns, shish kebab, pomfret (a very popular fish, similar to pompano, but bigger), kheema (minced lamb in a thick gravy made of garlic, ginger, onions, cilantro, etc) and Nali gosht (lamb shanks).

Prepping the chicken
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The Grill
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Prawns
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Pomfret
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Kheema (lamb mince)
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Nali ghost
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Naan
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We enjoyed an afternoon of swimming and playing with my nephews in the pool and Jacuzzi, before heading out for a few more errands and a bit more shopping. We returned to my brothers place for some tea and Vada Pav
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Around 9pm we sat down for dinner which included Baked Crabs, Indian Mutton Chops – double rib chops are flattened, marinated in garlic, ginger, tumeric, chili powder, battered and pan fried. Delicious and succulent.

Baked Crab
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Lamb Chop
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We also enjoyed Pan Seared Pomfret in spices, which had a crispy spiced skin, but tender sea-sweet flesh.
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I had also requested French Bean ma Gohst, which as you might suspect contained French long beans with goat. Unfortunately I did not take a picture of this dish.

Edited by percyn, 28 December 2008 - 02:51 AM.


#16 percyn

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 02:49 AM

Day 9
Our daily ritual now includes fresh coconuts every morning, followed by a latte and a muffin. Of course, I need my eggs, so I have this local restaurant make me an Indian omelet. I should ask them whether they make any other variations, but for now I am happy with the omelet. Most stores and vendors open around 10am-11am, which is a bit late for breakfast, so our options are a bit limited, unless we want to indulge in the hotel’s offerings, which we have on occasion and while very good, does not offer the authenticity and charm that only local vendors, especially street hawkers can offer…more on this later.

Bombay city travel can drain a surprising amount of energy from you and it seems like we need some down time every other day to recoup…after all this is also a vacation for us so we are trying to mix in a bit of R&R by laying by the pool, opting for some massages, pedicure for my wife, straight edge razor shaves for me, etc.

For lunch today we decided to try one of the distinguished restaurants in the hotel. We studied the menus placed outside each of the restaurants, which offered Indian, Chinese and a health conscious fusion based selections. Since my wife had a craving for dim sum, we opted for the Chinese restaurant. The cuisine was top notch and flavors rivaled any of the restaurants I have tried, with the special added bonus of an ocean view and world class service, all for the price of what you would pay at a take-away place in the US (around $20/person).

Chicken Wonton Soup
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Mixed Vegetables - this was in the Indo-Chinese style, which is more aggressively spiced and has bolder flavors than the Chinese dishes in the US
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Hakka Noodles (another favorite Chinese dish in India) and Fried Rice
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Pomfret in Singapore crab sauce (center) and Manchurian Chicken (1 o'clock)
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Dessert - Vanilla ice cream and fruit (I was hoping for some lychee ice cream)
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After a quick afternoon siesta, we headed for a family gathering on the other side of town. Though we travel in an air conditioned car, the sudden stop and go due to the traffic and bumps in the road can take its toll on you. Add to that back and neck complications that my wife and I have and it feels like you have just been in a boxing match.

After a few drinks and munching on some snacks at my Aunt’s place, we headed for an Indo-Chinese restaurant (yet again) in south Bombay. One might suspect that the cuisine is the same, but the different styles yield not so subtle flavor profiles and is almost like enjoying two different cuisines.

This was Christmas eve and on the way back we ran into extra traffic from the people who were attending midnight mass and got back to our hotel a little after 1am to find little mini Christmas cakes and chocolate covered strawberries waiting for us, compliments of the hotel.

#17 Kim Shook

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 06:29 AM

Oh, thank goodness, a BLOG! And a travel one. And from PERCYN :smile: !!! What wonderful riches. I opened this blog this morning like it was a delayed Christmas gift and it surely was! Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful sights and the incredible food. I am just pouring over each photo and description and wondering if any of our local restaurants would be able to serve anything similar if I take a list of the dishes in to them! Those prawns in the market look amazing and I was very interested in what you had to say about the freshness of all the meats. Nice to see you enjoying your morning eggs, breakfast man :wink: !

#18 Shelby

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 09:45 AM

I feel the same as Kim--what a great gift to come home to! The sights and foods are so wonderfully foreign to me. I can't imagine living in such a city. How great would it be to never have to have meat in the freezer??? A short walk to the market and it's fresh every day!

#19 tsquare

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Posted 28 December 2008 - 10:38 AM

Thanks for taking the time to photograph and write this up. What is "Pav"? Is that a word for a sandwich?

Vadas are one of my new loves - I have to drive half an hour to get them though. The restaurant serves 2 of them with 3 chutneys and sambar. I haven't figured out the protocol for eating these. I tend to drag the things through the chutneys (one at a time) and drink the soup separately. They also serve a version with the sambar poured over the vadas. Or yoghurt poured over. Wonder if they are open for lunch today...

#20 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 29 December 2008 - 08:45 AM

One shouldn't read this while hungry either.

Percy,

Everything there looks great, especially the prawns. It's also nice to see where you got your love for eggs.

I'm also interested in Indo-Chinese food in Mumbai. The combination is something I never thought about before, even though it makes perfect sense seeing the geography. What was in that dumpling in the dim sum place?

Thanks for sharing your trip with us. Can't wait for more.
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#21 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 01:50 AM

Day 10

After waking up a little later than usual, we met my brother and sister-in-law for Christmas brunch at ITC, which is apparently a 7 star hotel (need to verify that). Of course we had to make a quick pit stop at the coconut vendor, who has become so accustomed that he begins to cut one as soon as he seems me coming.

Coconut vendor in action
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Brunch consisted of an elaborate spread of Continental and Indian dishes including classics like salmon mousse, chicken liver pate, jumbo shrimp, oyster shooters, duck, cold cuts, cheeses, etc. and then stepped it up a notch by offering lobster and tiger prawns grilled to order on a tepenyaki style grill.

The Hotel where we had brunch
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Chicken liver mousse
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Duck confit
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Quail
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Sample plate
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Selections from the grill
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Roast Piglet
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There was also a select of Indian dishes such as

5 different Biryanis, lamb, bhuna gosht, etc
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Yoghurt in terra cotta pot
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Dessert spread included assorted cakes including a Macroon Gateaux, tiramisu, mud pie (an Anglo Indian favorite), Kulfi (Indian ice cream) and rabdi to name a few.

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When we returned to our hotel in the evening, we were too full for dinner, but the light from the street hawker’s stalls attracted me like a moth to a flame. So I decided to walk around by the sea, burn off some calories so that I can sacrifice my tummy for the sake of this blog ;-)

The first vendor I came across was one selling peanuts and “chapta channa” (flat grams). These were better than the peanuts you get on the plane, but not comparable to the peanuts that come from a place in the state of Gujarat called Bharuch.

Channa Vendor and his wares
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Next was a vendor selling black channa, which are boiled, mixted with sautéed onion, tomatoes, raw mangoes and other spices. Note the make shift piece of cardboard masquerading as a spoon.

Channa vendor looking gangsta
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The next stop was at a stall with a small charcoal grill, who offered a variety of chicken and paneer kebabs. Paneer is a pressed cheese, with a texture similar to tofu, popular as a vegetarian substitute for meats. I decided to try a Malai Chicken kebab (less spicy, marinated in cream) which was grilled to order and then wrapped in a rumali roti with onion, a squeeze of fresh lime and topped with some sauces and chutney. I wish there was a way to capture the smoky aroma that perfumed the air. It was so appetizing that I decided to try the paneer version and though I typically prefer non-vegetarian dishes, the charcoal lent a wonderful char to the outside surface of the paneer while softening the inside, leading to an extremely delicious snack.

Roadside BBQ
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Ended the night with a sweet Paan...a mixture of sweet and savory items including areca nut wrapped in a Betle leaf, which serves the purpose of a palate cleanser and breath freshener.

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Hmm….guess I was hungry after all.

#22 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:01 AM

I feel the same as Kim--what a great gift to come home to!  The sights and foods are so wonderfully foreign to me.  I can't imagine living in such a city.  How great would it be to never have to have meat in the freezer???  A short walk to the market and it's fresh every day!

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Thanks Kim and Shelly. Despite best intentions, I haven't been as successful in posting in a timely fashion. Internet time seems to vanish quickly when bought by the hour.

Life in Bombay has its pros and cons, on one hand you have cheap labor which enables fresh produce and plenty of domestic help to assist with the daily tasks like cooking, but on the other, the selection is not as vast as you have in the US, the hygienic conditions might...ummm...vary and since super markets are sparse, there is no one stop shopping, so you are forced to travel to different areas in traffic that seems like a rally, for different items.

ETA: I have some video footage of a short rickshaw ride in some traffic which I will post the link to if I can upload it to Youtube.

Edited by percyn, 30 December 2008 - 02:13 AM.


#23 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:12 AM

Thanks for taking the time to photograph and write this up. What is "Pav"? Is that a word for a sandwich?

Vadas are one of my new loves - I have to drive half an hour to get them though. The restaurant serves 2 of them with 3 chutneys and sambar. I haven't figured out the protocol for eating these. I tend to drag the things through the chutneys (one at a time) and drink the soup separately. They also serve a version with the sambar poured over the vadas. Or yoghurt poured over. Wonder if they are open for lunch today...

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Tsquare, Pav means bread and a vada can be a generic term for a "fritter". The vada I posted about upthread is filled with potatoes (similar to a samosa filling) popular in Maharashtra (the state Bombay is part of) and is enjoyed between a piece of bread, similar to a small kaiser roll and is sprinkled with dry sambar or chili powder.

The version in yoghurt is popular in Gujurat (Western India) and does not contain potatoes but Urad dal and rice and is soaked in water to soften it before placing it in the yoghurt. The south Indian version has a similar vada, but it is not dipped in water and served with sambar/sambal and chutney.

So there you see an example of the same dish with its regional variations. There is no "national cuisine" in India, just regional cuisine, which is enjoyed by all.

Edited by percyn, 30 December 2008 - 02:51 AM.


#24 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 02:23 AM

One shouldn't read this while hungry either. 

Percy,

Everything there looks great, especially the prawns.  It's also nice to see where you got your love for eggs.

I'm also interested in Indo-Chinese food in Mumbai.  The combination is something I never thought about before, even though it makes perfect sense seeing the geography.  What was in that dumpling in the dim sum place?

Thanks for sharing your trip with us.  Can't wait for more.

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Lets see if you still prefer the prawns over the duck in the latest post :biggrin:

The seafood is rich and abundant. As big as the prawns are, I remember having even bigger ones as a kid, that my Dad used to bring from a remote river by our factory.

The Dim Sum consisted of shu mai, Char Siu Bao, a lamb dumpling, etc. Not bad for an introductory experience to Dim Sum for Mumbaikars. Dim Sum is new to Bombay and until maybe 5-7 years ago, Chinese meant the typical Indo-Chinese fare to which I have not done justice yet and will see if I can post more about later.

#25 prasantrin

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 05:08 AM

Young coconut juice! In Cambodia we were doing the same thing--getting a coconut from every place we could find one. And if we were at restaurants, we'd have them chop the coconuts open after finishing the juice so we could eat all that delicious meat!

I'm very jealous of your continuing coconut consumption. The ones in Singapore were tiny, and we've just arrived in KL, so we haven't found any, yet. We're very hopeful, though!

I'm surprised dim sum is so new to Mumbai. I would have thought something like bao would have done well there as street food (easy to eat out of hand, just like samosas).

#26 I_call_the_duck

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 09:20 AM

Lets see if you still prefer the prawns over the duck in the latest post  :biggrin:

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It's a toss-up. :laugh:
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#27 Shelby

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:43 AM

I feel the same as Kim--what a great gift to come home to!  The sights and foods are so wonderfully foreign to me.  I can't imagine living in such a city.  How great would it be to never have to have meat in the freezer???  A short walk to the market and it's fresh every day!

View Post

Thanks Kim and Shelly. Despite best intentions, I haven't been as successful in posting in a timely fashion. Internet time seems to vanish quickly when bought by the hour.

Life in Bombay has its pros and cons, on one hand you have cheap labor which enables fresh produce and plenty of domestic help to assist with the daily tasks like cooking, but on the other, the selection is not as vast as you have in the US, the hygienic conditions might...ummm...vary and since super markets are sparse, there is no one stop shopping, so you are forced to travel to different areas in traffic that seems like a rally, for different items.

ETA: I have some video footage of a short rickshaw ride in some traffic which I will post the link to if I can upload it to Youtube.

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I'd love to see the video.

This might be a backward/dumb question, but I don't get out much lol. How is the water there? Do you drink out of the faucet or do you use bottled water?

#28 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:51 PM

...
This might be a backward/dumb question, but I don't get out much lol.  How is the water there?  Do you drink out of the faucet or do you use bottled water?

No question is dumb and this is a very valid question. Unless you are used to the water (which is filtered and in many cases passes through UV rays to kill the bacteria), I would stick to bottle water. We started on bottled water even to brush our teeth and no ice for the first 3-5 days and are now consuming "perfect ice" (they distill the water), brushing and gargling with tap water and drinking bottled water/sodas.

#29 percyn

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Posted 30 December 2008 - 11:54 PM

Appologies as I am still lagging behind in my posts but I have to go eat a Thali and take pictures and will be traveling back, so it might be 24-48 hrs before I post again.

#30 Shelby

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Posted 31 December 2008 - 09:55 AM

...
This might be a backward/dumb question, but I don't get out much lol.  How is the water there?  Do you drink out of the faucet or do you use bottled water?

No question is dumb and this is a very valid question. Unless you are used to the water (which is filtered and in many cases passes through UV rays to kill the bacteria), I would stick to bottle water. We started on bottled water even to brush our teeth and no ice for the first 3-5 days and are now consuming "perfect ice" (they distill the water), brushing and gargling with tap water and drinking bottled water/sodas.

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So, you kind of have to gradually get your body used to the different water? That makes sense.